Home The growing frustration of air travel

The growing frustration of air travel

by admin January 12, 2010

Anyone who has travelled on an airplane since the start of the new millennium understands just how frustrating it is.

Three years ago, my family and I made the big shift from the sunny Australian beaches to cold, cold, cold Montreal. Not something unusual, my parents enjoy moving from country to country and have done it twice in my lifetime. To get here, we took three planes, found ourselves in four cities and had at least two hours of airport security to go through at each stop. We spent roughly twenty hours in the air and almost ten hours sitting in the airports or running to our destinations. With the sixteen hour time difference, I saw Saturday four times.

At each airport, we went through the same process. Everyone had to take off their shoes, coat and “excess” clothing before being patted down. While I had my passport compared to my five ID cards, my sister’s stuffed bear was repeatedly subject to terrible, terrible things, which we shall not speak of. My mother, on the other hand, waltzed through with a pair of scissors, a water bottle, her lipstick and other such “deadly” items.
With the already tedious process of getting onto an airplane getting longer with each passing terrorist attempt, flaws have constantly been pointed out in the airport security system. The next step is the introduction of full body scanners. Several countries, such as the Netherlands, Nigeria and Italy, already have them installed and ready for use. In North America, they will be used for flights from Canada to the United States. The new technology, costing about $250 000 apiece, comes as a shock to the public. For some, the idea of having one more scanner seems like a drag and a huge waste of money. For others, the radiation poses a problem. But according to The Gazette, Health Canada and Transport Canada have approved the body scans. They are considered to be 10,000 times less harmful than a cell phone. Then, there are the rare few who call it a virtual strip search and think that it’s an excuse for the airport security and customs officials to sneak a peek at our naked bodies.

But will this delay boarding? After going through the usual metal detectors and partial strip teases in the airport lobby, the traveler is presented with a choice &- a physical pat down or a full body scan. For those who prefer machine to man, the scanner projects radio waves around the body and creates an image on a screen for an officer to examine. After the officer has checked for liquids, sharp instruments, lumps, explosives, metals and non metals, the pictures are deleted immediately and it’s on to the next step.
The scans are not globally mandatory (yet) but we have slowly been made to leave more and more at home. First it was scissors, sewing kits and all other sharp objects. Then we had to start removing our shoes during checks and leaving liquids at home. Now airports are talking about implementing a rule to keep passengers in their seats for up to one hour before landing. Sorry kids, you’re going to have to hold your pee until you land, get through airport security and find a bathroom…

Leave a Comment